Native Studies in Canada
INCORPORATING COMMUNITY INPUT IN THE DEVELOPMENT STAGES OF LINKING THE NISHNAABEMWIN LANGUAGE TO MODERN TECHNOLOGY
Through the residential school system, generations of Aboriginal people have been forcibly separated and removed from their language and culture. Even today, the education of our children is based upon a curriculum that was formed from a colonialistic and racist society, who some prefer to call the newcomers. This education system has forced parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents into turning away from their beliefs, languages and identities in order to follow Euro-Canadian ideologies. In this time of the seventh fire, there has been a re-emergence of original teachings, traditional beliefs which of course must be grounded in the language of the people.
I have heard some Elders say that we need to have the language and culture in order to continue as Original People. We need to be able to teach our language because this language encompasses all of our beliefs, culture and ways of interacting with all of creation. The teachers and personnel from the Boards of Education need to be made aware that Aboriginal People need an education system that is based on language and culture without interference.
Communities must be involved from the outset in order that they can have input into the development, control and review of all facets of the proposed curriculum. By validating and valuing the experiences and beliefs of Aboriginal people it will in turn send a message to other peoples that Native culture is credible and deserves not only a mention but a firm place in the curriculum. Although some may feel uncomfortable with the changes that are at hand, we must try and work within this time of technology.
In order to incorporate community input of the Revitalization
of the Nishnaabemwin Language Project and fulfill the requirement for a
Native Studies course, a questionnaire was developed to address these matters.
After distribution, compilation and analysis of the data, a report was
The layout of the questionnaire consisted of three three separate but
synonymous sections which were Personal Information, Community
Information and Project Information.